By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
at Moscow Country Club
Miguel Angel Martin bounced back from a three-putt bogey at the first to sign for a six under par 66 and the clubhouse lead during the first day of the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior) at Moscow Country Club.
Spaniard Martin fired seven birdies, including three in succession from the 15th, to sit one clear of Australian Mike Harwood as the day progressed in the Russian capital.
England’s Mike McLean had earlier held the clubhouse lead after an excellent 68 left him alongside compatriot Barry Lane in the group at four under par.
With the European Senior Tour returning to Russia for just the second time, and first since 2008, there was some good scoring on Friday on the Robert Trent Jones Jnr –designed layout, the first 18-hole course in the country when it was opened in 1994, but none more so than the in-form Martin.
The 51 year old Madrid native has finished inside the top seven three times in his last four starts on the Senior Tour, most recently notching a tied runner-up spot two weeks ago in Woburn and he again looked in formidable shape despite the early slip.
Martin birdied all four of the par fives as Moscow Country Club and, perhaps even more impressively, made twos at three of the four short holes on Friday to claim the clubhouse lead midway through day one in Russia.
Curiously, it also means that two Miguel Angels currently lead in Europe, what with Martin’s compatriot Miguel Angel Jimenez, two years his junior, on top in the Netherlands currently at the KLM Open on The European Tour.
Harwood, meanwhile, is this week playing only his third tournament of the season after a year blighted by an elbow injury kept him out of action until the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters two weeks ago.
A whirlwind start of three birdies on the spin saw the 54 year old Sydney man begin well and he added a further three gains and just the one dropped shot en route to a five under par 67.
Colin Montgomerie, who won his first Senior Tour event in just in third start at Woburn two weeks ago, opened up with a three under par 69 for a share of ninth as the day continued.